Name: Rick Scott
Senate: Florida, Republican
Cumulative Freedom Index Score: 34%
Status: Active Member of the Senate
33% (116th Congress: 2019-2020)
|On the Amendment S.Amdt. 942 to H.R. 4378 (Continuing Appropriations Act, 2020): Spending Cut|
|Vote Date: September 26, 2019||Vote: NAY||Bad Vote.|
|During consideration of the short-term appropriations bill (H.R. 4378), Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced an amendment to cut the bill’s funding for federal operations and services by two percent. On the Senate floor, Paul pleaded, “The debt is growing at 8 percent a year. Spending is growing only at 4.5 percent, 5 percent a year. The debt is growing more rapidly because we have accumulated so much. We have over a $22 trillion debt. The interest this year is over $300 billion. As it grows faster and faster, the interest will exceed what we are spending on the military within about five years…. What I have put forward today … is an opportunity for the Senators who truly believe the debt is a problem to try to restrain spending with a 2-percent cut across the board.”|
The Senate rejected Paul’s amendment on September 26, 2019 by a vote of 24 to 73 (Roll Call 310). We have assigned pluses to the yeas not only because most of the spending falls outside the scope of constitutionally authorized federal powers, but also because the federal government needs to start reining in ballooning federal spending and debt in order to avert future fiscal disaster. Although two percent may not seem like much, modest cuts are still better than none at all.
|On Passage of the Bill H.R. 4378: Short-term Appropriations|
|Vote Date: September 26, 2019||Vote: NAY||Good Vote.|
|This bill (H.R. 4378) would provide funding for federal government operations and services through November 21, 2019, at fiscal 2019 levels. Passage of this bill, known as a continuing appropriations resolution, was necessary because the House Democrats had passed only 10 of the 12 major 2020 fiscal year appropriations bills so far, and the Senate had not even passed one of the 12, even though the 2020 fiscal year began on October 1, 2019.|
The Senate passed H.R. 4378 on September 26, 2019 by a vote of 81 to 16 (Roll Call 311). We have assigned pluses to the nays because with this continuing appropriations bill, Congress is failing to address its fiscally and constitutionally irresponsible budgeting and appropriating process that is currently yielding annual federal deficits of about $1 trillion that contribute directly to the dramatic growth of our $23 trillion national debt.
|On Passage of the Bill H.R. 3877: Budget Deal|
|Vote Date: August 1, 2019||Vote: NAY||Good Vote.|
|This two-year budget bill (H.R. 3877) would establish sufficiently high spending limits to allow the Washington spendathon to continue (and then some) through fiscal years 2020 and 2021. It would also suspend the national debt ceiling until July 31, 2021, in order to accommodate accumulating federal debt between now and then without having to vote to raise the debt limit. Congressional Quarterly (CQ) noted that the bill would “add $324 billion to spending limits over the next two years, not counting an extra $157 billion mainly for overseas military operations.” And although $77 billion of that would be offset, CQ further noted that the supposed cuts “don’t take effect until fiscal 2027.” In the House, Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) was so outraged by the budget deal that he attempted (but failed) to change the bill’s title to read, “A bill to kick the can down the road, and for other purposes.”|
The Senate passed H.R. 3877 on August 1, 2019 by a vote of 67 to 28 (Roll Call 262). We have assigned pluses to the nays because spending needs to be brought under control and deficits eliminated to avoid fiscal disaster — not “down the road,” but now — and also because much of the spending is unconstitutional.
|On the Amendment S.Amdt. 883 to S. 1790 (National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020): To prohibit unauthorized military operations in or against Iran.|
|Vote Date: June 28, 2019||Vote: NONE||No Vote.|
|During consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 1790), Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) introduced an amendment to prohibit any funds authorized by the bill to be used to conduct hostilities against the government of Iran or in the territory of Iran. This amendment would allow U.S. forces to defend themselves and would not affect a congressional declaration of war on Iran.|
The Senate voted on Udall’s amendment on June 28, 2019, the day after the underlying legislation (S. 1790) was passed. Per a unanimous consent agreement, 60 votes were required to add the amendment to the bill retroactively. The Senate rejected the amendment by a vote of 50 to 40 (Roll Call 189). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because hostilities conducted against a sovereign nation, in this case Iran, constitute an act of war, and would thus require, constitutionally speaking, a declaration of war by Congress.
|On the Motion to Table S.Amdt. 902 to S.Amdt. 901 to H.R. 3401 (Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border Act, 2019): Supplemental Border Appropriations|
|Vote Date: June 26, 2019||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|During consideration of the supplemental border appropriations bill (H.R. 3401), Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced an amendment to rescind all funding for the East-West Center and the Inter-American Foundation, and funding previously appropriated for global health programs within the fiscal 2019 State and Foreign Operations appropriations measure.|
The East-West Center is an education and research organization established by Congress in 1960 to strengthen relations and understanding among the peoples and nations of Asia, the Pacific, and the United States. The Inter-American Foundation is an independent agency of the U.S. government that funds development projects undertaken by nongovernmental organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Rescinding funding for both these organizations would save over $40 million annually.
The Senate tabled (killed) Paul’s amendment on June 26, 2019 by a vote of 77 to 15 (Roll Call 183). We have assigned pluses to the nays because nowhere in the Constitution is Congress authorized to fund such programs. These types of programs should be handled privately, not with U.S. taxpayers’ money. Although Paul’s amendment had little to do with U.S. border appropriations, his effort to eliminate this unconstitutional spending should be commended.
|On Passage of the Bill H.R. 2157: Disaster Supplemental Appropriations|
|Vote Date: May 23, 2019||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|This bill (H.R. 2157) would provide $19.1 billion in supplemental disaster funds for response efforts to damage caused by hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, and other natural disasters that occurred in 2017, 2018, and 2019. It includes nutrition assistance for individuals impacted by natural disasters in Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. And it provides funds for economic assistance, employment training, healthcare, agricultural losses, and infrastructure repairs in disaster-stricken areas.|
The Senate passed H.R. 2157 on May 23, 2019 by a vote of 85 to 8 (Roll Call 129). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government does not have authority under the Constitution to rebuild areas stricken by natural disasters. Such activity should be undertaken by private companies and charities first, and, as a last resort, handled by local or state governments. This would arguably result in disasters being handled much more efficiently and effectively, as the federal government is often criticized for its slow, inefficient, and ineffective response to such events (think FEMA).
|On the Joint Resolution S.J.Res. 7: Yemen|
|Vote Date: March 13, 2019||Vote: NAY||Bad Vote.|
|This bill (Senate Joint Resolution 7) would direct “the President to remove United States Armed Forces from hostilities in or affecting the Republic of Yemen … unless and until a declaration of war or specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces has been enacted.” The measure exempts U.S. forces “engaged in operations directed at al Qaeda or associated forces.”|
The Senate passed S.J. Res. 7 on March 13, 2019 by a vote of 54 to 46 (Roll Call 48). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because Congress is vested with the power to declare war, and Congress has not authorized any intervention or war in Yemen. Nor should Congress do so, since the civil war in Yemen does not threaten the United States.
|On the Conference Report H.J.Res. 31: Consolidated Appropriations|
|Vote Date: February 14, 2019||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|This bill (House Joint Resolution 31) would provide $333 billion in discretionary spending for the seven remaining fiscal 2019 appropriations bills: Agriculture ($23 billion); Commerce-Justice-Science ($64.1 billion); Financial Services ($23.4 billion); Homeland Security ($61.6 billion); Interior-Environment ($35.6 billion); State-Foreign Operations ($54.2 billion); and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development ($71.1 billion).|
The Senate passed H.J. Res. 31 on February 14, 2019 by a vote of 83 to 16 (Roll
Call 26). We have assigned pluses to the nays because most of the bill’s spending programs are unconstitutional, our nation’s national debt is about $23 trillion, and our nation’s 2019 federal budget deficit was nearly $1 trillion.
|On Passage of the Bill S. 47: Public Lands|
|Vote Date: February 12, 2019||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|This bill (S. 47) would permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which was first authorized in 1964 to assist states in the planning, acquisition, and development of “recreation” lands. The LWCF was initially funded by proceeds from the sales of surplus federal property, motorboat fuel taxes, and fees for recreational use of federal lands, but by 1969 a major funding source was added: fees charged to oil and gas companies for extracting resources from public lands. In this way this could be portrayed as making more “recreational” public land available without any cost to taxpayers (neglecting to admit that ending the LWCF funding would benefit taxpayers by freeing up the fossil-fuel royalties for other purposes). The LWCF has been spending about $1 billion per year in recent years. This bill would also authorize other federal activities pertaining to natural resources, such as designating “National Heritage Areas” and “Conservation Districts.”|
The Senate passed S. 47 on February 12, 2019 by a vote of 92 to 8 (Roll Call 22). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the Constitution does not authorize Congress to purchase private property except “all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings.”
|On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed S. 109: Abortion funding|
|Vote Date: January 17, 2019||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2019 (S. 109) would prohibit the use of federal funds to cover the cost of abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or when a woman’s life is at risk unless an abortion is performed. The bill would also prohibit qualified health plans from including abortion coverage.|
The Senate did not vote directly on the bill, but on a motion to invoke cloture (and thus limit debate) so the bill could come up for a vote. The motion to invoke cloture was rejected on January 17, 2019 by a vote of 48 to 47 (Roll Call 7; a three-fifths majority of the entire Senate is required to invoke cloture). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the government should not subsidize or make provision for the killing of innocent human life.